GMOs’ toxins put your health at risk, according to plant biologist Jonathan Latham. As Latham reports, many genetically modified plants are engineered to contain their own insecticides. These GMOs, which include maize, cotton and soybeans, are called Bt plants. Bt plants get their name because they incorporate a transgene that makes a protein-based toxin (usually called the Cry toxin) from the bacterium Bacillus thuringiensis. (The term “cry toxin” comes from the crystal proteins that form the toxin.) Many Bt crops are “stacked,” meaning they contain a multiplicity of these Cry toxins. Bacillus thuringiensis is all but indistinguishable from the well known anthrax bacterium
Latham reports that Bt is “all but indistinguishable” from the anthrax bacterium (Bacillus anthracis) and that Bt insecticides share “structural similarities” with another dangerous plant toxin, Ricin. Latham writes, “These red flags are doubly troubling because some Cry proteins are known to be toxic towards isolated human cells (Mizuki et al., 1999). Yet we put them in our food crops.”
Source: Jonathan Latham, “Growing Doubt: A Scientist’s Experience of GMO’s,” Independent Science News, August 31, 2015, http://www.independentsciencenews.org/health/growing-doubt-a-scientists-experience-of-gmos/.
Student Researcher: Brenda Morgan (Sonoma State University)
Faculty Evaluator: Anthony Vigorito (Sonoma State University)